A number of Japanese celebrities took to Twitter this weekend to criticize the government's attempt to extend the retirement age for prosecutors, with one warning the move could "destroy" the country.
The tweets by those including actors, actresses and musicians were widely retweeted by other users with the Japanese hashtag meaning "I oppose the revision of the public prosecutor's office law" and totaled more than 3.8 million on Sunday evening.
The revision bill, which would lift the retirement age to 65 from 63, has been discussed in parliament since last month.
It would also allow for further extension if the Cabinet gives approval, a special provision that critics say could damage a fair judicial system by enabling the administration to decide which prosecutor can stay in office longer.
"Please do not twist the law or politics anymore for the sake of self-protection. Please do not destroy this country," actor Arata Iura said.
Many of the tweets also said the government is trying to push the bill through at a time when it should focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
"In this confusion over the coronavirus, we should focus on (saving) people's lives. It's a tragedy for Japan to forcibly decide on the bill, which is far from democracy," theater director Amon Miyamoto said.
このコロナ禍の混乱の中、集中すべきは人の命。どうみても民主主義とはかけ離れた法案を強引に決めることは、日本にとって悲劇です。#検察庁法改正案に抗議します— 宮本亞門 公式 (@amonmiyamoto) May 9, 2020
Others expressing protest against the proposed legal change included actress Kyoko Koizumi and pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came under fire earlier this year after it let Hiromu Kurokawa remain as chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office after he turned 63.
Kurokawa is widely believed to be favored by the prime minister's office, and the move has sparked criticism from opposition parties and bar associations.